This 41-acre property is a dedicated state nature preserve located in the City of Hobart. One of the rarest ecosystems in the state, the black-soil prairie at Cressmoor is an extremely high-quality landscape, despite a history of agriculture and grazing. It harbors at least ten state-listed species of plants and five threatened species of remnant-dependent insects. The preserve is at its most impressive from late summer to early fall when prairie grasses are high and the diversity of wildflowers and butterflies is at its peak. A loop hiking trail begins at the parking lot on Lake Park Avenue and is roughly 1/2 to 3/4 miles in length.
Indiana Department of Natural Resources, NIPSCO Environmental Challenge Fund, Natural Resource Damage Assessment Fund, Lake Michigan Coastal Program, Wildlife Habitat Council, U.S. Forest Service.
From I-94, take I-65 south to Ridge Rd/E. 37th Ave. Drive east on E. 37th Ave. about 2.5 miles to Lake Park Ave. Turn right (south) on Lake Park for about ½ mile to the parking lot on the right (west) side of the road.
Photos by Ron Trigg
Walk the trails at Cressmoor Prairie in late summer and fall and you’ll know the wonder that early settlers felt when they emerged from the great eastern forest to discover the sea of grassland that stretched from here to the foothills of the Rockies. Very little of those original grasslands remains today. Cressmoor, after careful restoration, is one of the best places to see tallgrass prairie in Indiana.
Cressmoor Prairie’s late-summer wildflower display is a world-class natural spectacle. Grasses reach eight feet skyward, sunflowers even higher. Spikes of purple blazing star, yellow goldenrods, pink milkweeds, blue and white asters flourish in huge abundance. Butterflies, attracted by wildflower nectar, gather in great colorful numbers. Monarchs pause here in the fall prior to their long flight to the mountains of Mexico.